If You’re Desperately Seeking More Desk Space, Try a Clamp Lamp
Our 11 favorites, starting at $14.
Updated Sep 6, 2023 1:11 PM
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The end of August signifies the swan song of out-of-office messages and Summer Fridays. Work Week is our one-stop-shopping cluster dedicated to feeling good about getting back into a routine—whether that’s working from home, the office, or a classroom. We’ve got the snazzy task lamps, new desks, and sharp organization tools to help.
I’m all for piling candles, catchalls, and art books onto coffee tables and sideboards, but there’s nothing more inviting (or functional) than a decluttered desk. Being able to open a notebook, spread out papers, and, frankly, think clearly are luxuries that a minimally decorated workspace offers. My opinion is that a cup of pens and a tape dispenser won’t hurt, but task lighting is a must, and some lamps take up quite a bit of surface space. My own desk is only 18 inches deep, and I had been hunting for a petite lamp for months. What I ended up with is anything but tiny, but it doesn’t take up even an inch of surface space. That’s because it’s a clip-on desk lamp: my new favorite space-saving style.
I found mine at an antiques mall in upstate New York and was first struck by its color, a unique shade of denim–meets–cobalt blue. The industrial vibe of the powder-coated metal, visible hardware, and adjustable design makes it look like it belongs on the desk of an architect (funny enough, I later found out the style is called the Architect). Once installed, it was clear that something of this scale was exactly what I needed to fill empty wall space, and the clamp base is the focal point that made that possible.
Since waiting to stumble upon one in a vintage shop isn’t always an option, there are plenty of new versions to choose from today. From a $14 Walmart hidden gem to an Italian design icon you’ll keep forever, our picks for the best clip-on desk lamps are rounded up, below.
Our Top Clip-On Desk Lamp Picks
It’s no secret that chrome is trending, and snagging any accessory in the sleek metal for under $50 is something you won’t want to snooze on.
While it looks as simple as can be, Blu Dot’s more streamlined take is dimmable, tilts, pivots, and comes in four colors.
While certainly an investment, Pablo’s Link light stands out from the rest. Its unique circular head holds 15 high-power LEDs that last 25,000 hours, and it comes in two sizes and three colors.
This classic option is just $38 and comes in black and white. The visible springs subtly add to the industrial look.
This lamp is a little different from the rest, made with a clip instead of a clamp and featuring a playful bendable arm. The green will add a fresh pop of color to your workspace.
The Tertial work lamp was first introduced to IKEA’s range in 1998, which is proof enough that this design is a winner. The soft dusty blue is a real crowd-pleaser that blends in to nearly any space, and it can also be drilled into a wall.
We’re just as shocked by this price tag as you are. At $14, you could easily buy a set of two and have them frame your desk.
A part of Hay’s recent fall drop, the Apex Lamp, which is designed with John Tree, is inspired by traditional banker’s lamps. The delicately bent metal shade is offered in three colors, and it also comes in a shorter clip version with even more hue options.
If you already love British brand Anglepoise, you’ll fall even deeper in love once knowing you can replace any of its 1217 lamp bases with a clamp. Function aside, we love the super-reflective chrome finish on this one.
This one is closest in color to the vintage lamp I bought, so naturally it’s my favorite of them all.
This Artemide classic by Italian designer Michele de Lucchi comes in an array of models, from floor to table, but it’s not too often we see the clamp version. Designed in 1987, this one isn’t going out of style, well, ever.